Talk:Archive:High priority articles for pilot

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Old prefatory text

This is a proposed list of articles on basic subjects for Citizendium's pilot project. As Larry Sanger has stated, during this pilot project a limited number of editors and authors will be brought on-board to test the MediaWiki settings, prepare CZ policies, test everything out, and so on.

As part of this pilot project, Sanger proposed preparing "a number of high-quality, approved articles to demonstrate the capabilities of the system."[1] I have adapted the list below from Wikipedia's so-called vital articles, which are feature articles Wikipedia editors agree WP should have. There are about 700 titles on this list. I believe the list is a good starting point for discussions on which articles the pilot project should initially focus on and I hope people will add or subtract articles as they see fit. If anyone has issues for or against this approach to developing a list of articles to focus on, please raise these issues on the talk page.--Jason Sanford 11:58, 3 October 2006 (PDT)

Please place your username (e.g. Peter Blake [i.e., your real name! --LMS]) against the topics that you judge yourself to have expertise in and in which you would be willing to help prototype an article. If you judge yourself an expert in an entire category or sub-category, place your username against the relevant heading. -- Peter Blake 17:22, 5 October 2006 (PDT)

I think this is a good idea, generally speaking, if only to collect data and to inspire people. Also, if it turns out that we have to wait beyond next week to set up a pilot project wiki (this depends on the hosting service, unfortunately), I will be proposing that we get to work right here. --Larry Sanger 18:09, 5 October 2006 (PDT)

I have added 3 topics to Education (Publishing, Scholarly Communication, and Libraries and 1 to Law (Intellectual property) There might be a better place to put some of them. --and I have also added my initials, but not to stake a claim. Dgoodmanny 14:31, 8 October 2006 (PDT)

Can someone please create a temporary GNU FDL-licensed template, and add it (as well as the "Category:Citizendium" tag) to all encyclopedia articles linked from this page? --Larry Sanger 17:38, 20 October 2006 (PDT)

OK, I've done this myself.  :-) --Larry Sanger 23:07, 20 October 2006 (PDT)

Initial list

I would like to propose a small change of the initial list, but I am not sure, if this is the right place. The change I propose is to change "Global Positioning System" into "Global Navigation Satellite System", as it's the generic term for all sttellite base positioning systems, including the GPS. Am I allowed to do such changes? Who is responsible for the initial list? Sorry, if this is the wrong place. --JoW 22:52, 22 October 2006 (PDT)

There is also an expanded list of vital articles on Wikipedia while the Wikipedia meta site gives this list of articles all Wikipedia encyclopdias should have.--JasonSanford 12:25, 3 October 2006 (PDT)

While we will definitely need these 700 or so articles before CZ looks anything like comprehensive, I think that the pilot project should aim to showcase what we can do in terms of article quality. Therefore I'd prefer to write articles on whatever topics we can find 4-6 knowledgeable contributors for, so that we initially emphasise quality over quantity. Under this scheme, we'd do better to ask our initial pool of contributors to propose topics in their areas of expertise and go from there. -- Peter Blake 21:36, 3 October 2006 (PDT)
The problem is that when we launch, we will be analyzed based on basic articles such as these. This list doesn't mean people can't also write other articles as they wish. But this list could help us focus on those articles we truly need when we launch. --Jason Sanford 07:36, 4 October 2006 (PDT)
The "Vital Articles" list is also the list that a lot of WP editors want to be "featured articles", and a significant percentage of them are either "good articles" or "featured articles". We're getting a lot of good articles that need slight repair. I think the goal could be to launch with 1400 articles, so that we have 1/1000th the articles of WP, but they're all good. --ZachPruckowski 08:50, 4 October 2006 (PDT)
Jason, if you're right that "we will be analyzed based on basic articles such as these" right from the word go, then I wholeheartedly agree with you. I'm just sceptical that we can attract a broad enough range of experts to cover all 700 articles before the launch. Hmmm... I'm going to ask people to put their name against the listed articles that they have some expertise in (letting them define "some expertise" for themselves at this stage). -- Peter Blake 17:08, 5 October 2006 (PDT)

Peter, you are correct--it will likely be hard to initially attract experts in all of these fields. But I think if we give it a good go of things we will eventually attract the needed experts.--JasonSanford 09:57, 8 October 2006 (PDT)

I agree, Jason. It seems our only disagreement on how long "eventually" might be :) Roll on the alpha launch! -- Peter Blake 22:59, 8 October 2006 (PDT) (Definition: roll on __: expressing a wish that time may pass quickly until a particular event; may (something) come soon. - OED)
I assume that you do not necessarily mean "write from scratch--I am looking at the articles and seeing if there are ones in subjects that I know that aree good enough that I could edit them. I don't think it practical (for me) to write a new one altogether in time.
But I would like to start a list of non-trivial shorter ones that we think we could edit (or write) fairly quickly.I will try to start one on my user page.DavidGoodman 19:34, 5 October 2006 (PDT)
I was thinking of "expertise sufficient to an article start from scratch", but there's no obligation to do that. Also, don't be afraid to depart radically from, or rearrange, your source documents (e.g. WP) if you feel it's justified. - Peter Blake 20:35, 5 October 2006 (PDT)
Wow, that's a pretty random list (having looked through it, and signed up for a few). Many of them are pretty high-level ("Physics"? "Religion"? "War"? Ye gads, I shudder to think about how to tackle those! But maybe I'm just better at smaller topics... :-) It seems to be a lot more detailed (and well-organized) in some areas than in others.
I do like the suggestion of "ask our initial pool of contributors to propose topics in their areas of expertise", but then you're likely to get some pretty random articles! So I think this list, although it could be improved is probably a good start. (Are we allowed to tweak it? I'd like to improve the computer science/communications section a bit, if so.) That's especially true if (hopefully) we can draw on "pretty good" Wikipedia articles to start with for many of them. Alas, Wikipedia's entry on Hokusai was pretty crummy, but luckily I already had a pretty good bio on my web site I was able to cannab^H^H^H^H^Hutilize. Noel 20:16, 5 October 2006 (PDT)
I signed up for a variety of topics in my areas of expertise (American studies, critical race theory, women's studies, African American studies, Vietnam war studies, trauma studies). I wouldn't want to take sole responsibility for any of these articles, but would be delighted to work in tandem with some other writers and editors. I am not daunted by high-level general articles, but I must say I'm appalled at the quality of the Wikipedia versions in some instances. I hope we can do a lot better. --Kalital 07:14, 23 October 2006 (PDT)
One thing that immediately comes to mind when I look at this initial list is that it reflects cultural biases, rather than being neutral. For example, there are no female authors or artists at all, and no nonwhite musicians. I think if we want to attract as broad a group of experts as possible, from all areas and fields, that it's important that our initial list of articles reflect the kind of diversity of expertise and interest that we'd like to see Citizendium represent. An earnest gesture in this direction would emphasize our interest in being inclusive, rather than exclusive as a resource. I am not arguing for the contrivance of "equal represenation" in areas where, historically, contributions of all groups are not equal in number. Rather, I would like to see "reasonable representation" in areas where minority contributions have indeed been made. Similarly, I would like to see the humanities and the social sciences represented as fully as the hard sciences. --Kalital 07:14, 23 October 2006 (PDT)

I agree with your comments and the list needs to be expanded. While it was a good starting point, there are a lot of people and non-Western articles missing.--JasonSanford 06:43, 25 October 2006 (PDT)

I signed up for Information Technology. Help is welcome. No-one has any particular opinions on IT round here eh? ;) -Peter Hitchmough 20:47, 5 October 2006 (PDT)
I used to write extensively on IT security but I am now out-of-date. Will be pleased to help subject to review by current practitioners. David91 21:54, 5 October 2006 (PDT)
Some of the major ones, like Darwin, are large, complex, almost unreferenced, and show signs of being assembled from one or two books, in this case by transcription. Nothing seems actually wrong, a lot left out, and 500 or so quotations to give a proper ref. to.
I edited one pt in WP to use more straight-forward language to see who objects. It will have to be cleaned up in stages & might not make it for the deadine.
But--and this qy was raised above, there's the general page "biology", reads like a press release, and I can and will do it better. But except for a few choice quotations, such an article cannot be properly sourced & I'm not sure it needs to be--the sources are in all the detailed articles. DavidGoodman 21:08, 5 October 2006 (PDT)
I think that's fine. As you say, the general articles can't really be sourced. One thing you could do, though, is something I did on the Hokusai age (and something I tried to convince people on Wikipedia to do), which was have a "Further reading" section - the concept is to have a list of places "ordinary" people can go to as a next step to get more detail than is in the article. A list of sources, while good for verification/scholars, is not necessarily the most useful thing for your average reader, especially if only specialist will find some/all of those items accessible (e.g. journals) or comprehendable. So especially in those general articles you should list what you consider easily-accessible, well-written works that ordinary people can consult as the next step in learning about the topic. Noel 21:24, 5 October 2006 (PDT)
I agree that the list is too large for the present....but we need such a large selection so that we can see the difficulties we face and therefore play to our strengths at the moment. There are some topics there that I could contribute to or even write an entire article on, given my teaching background....but I sure as heck wouldn't WANT to because of the immense amount of work (and research) it would entail. Topics dealing in fundamental branches of knowledge and learning would be a nightmare to start from scratch for instance. So I have picked four or so that I would like to help out on...and one in particular because the Wikipedia does NOT do a bad job of it already, namely the article on Steam Engines; it should be fun to try and improve on it (provided I can still use the Wikipedia's animated gifs, which are quite good ;-).--Phil Wardle 18:44, 9 October 2006 (PDT)

Real names

I see Larry has asked that we user "your real name" in signing up - perhaps in immediate response to my signing up for a number of items with "Jnc"! Ahem! If you click on the link to User:Jnc, you will discover there a link to my home page, which gives you not only my name, but my bio, telephone number, etc, etc! :-) Larry, I hope providing a real name at one level of indirection is "good enough" - I think it fulfils the spirit of the "use real names" concept. (If anyone is curious, I like to use my initials because I'm stubborn and history-minded, and because using that as an id and name was the style back on ITS; I'm not an original hacker (I got there about 10 years too late for that), but I was there before it took off into the popular culture, and still consider myself one - albeit a second generation one!) Noel 21:38, 5 October 2006 (PDT)

Question of priorities

So can we move towards a consensus on priorities. I know where the better content is buried on Wiki in my (fading) areas of expertise. I could bring in a reasonable number of articles and make them good enough for launch quite quickly. But if the consensus is that it is better to launch with a stable of featured articles on given subjects, the work would have to be targeted at that list. Many pages would have to be actually or substantially written from scratch, which is not a problem per se, but merely more time-consuming. If we are playing the numbers game, i.e. how big we want the approved content to be when we launch, this will mean giving the target list a lower priority or sacrificing it altogether. Whichever strategy we follow, the end-product is going to be patchy in terms of subject coverage simply because we are a relatively small group with existing constraints on the time we can make available: I also have the impression that the expertise offered by the current group membership may be skewed towards the sciences. But, for planning purposes, we need a sense of where we might want to be when we launch if the existing resources are going to be used for maximum benefit. David91 22:18, 5 October 2006 (PDT)

I'm for importing the Wikipedia articles on this list then fixing them up (with some obviously needing more work than others). That said, there will no doubt be holes in anything we do b/c of our limited numbers. --Jason Sanford 10:05, 8 October 2006 (PDT)

Existing entries?

I notice that a number of the list entries (e.g. Emotion, Religion, etc)lead to existing entries, but on looking at them, those pages are part of the TextOP project. I assume we shouldn't overwrite that content? Here's a (hopefully) complete list of the conflicting entries:

So I assume we should modify those entries in the list so they point to temporary non-conflicting page-names like "Desert (CZ)", etc? Noel 05:56, 6 October 2006 (PDT)

Larry is buying a separate server, so this thankfully won't be an issue. -- Peter Blake 20:13, 8 October 2006 (PDT)
Yes, those articles are from a separate project. When I created this list I wanted to leave in the Wiki formatting so it wouldn't have to be recreated in the future. The new server should fix this.--JasonSanford 06:26, 9 October 2006 (PDT)
Got it. Now, on a related point, I saw something here at one point which I interpreted to mean that we should go ahead and start working on articles (it was something like "if we aren't up by day X, we can go ahead and start working here", and it was after X), so I did, and stuck one (Hokusai) online. Now I'm concerned I shouldn't have. Should I just keep the other articles on my machine until the new server is ready, or what? Noel 10:54, 9 October 2006 (PDT)
There's no harm in posting here right now, as it'll be easy to cut and paste a few articles over to the new server. Show us what you've got :) -- Peter Blake 20:50, 15 October 2006 (PDT)
I agree with Peter.  :-) --Larry Sanger 23:53, 15 October 2006 (PDT)

Social Issues are not Biology

I object to the way the biology outline has become "sensationalized". Homosexuality and Heterosexuality are charged topics that are not best considered as biology. A biologist considers gender. There is so much in biology and medicine that needs to be part of public education, and although gender will be discussed in biology articles, "homosexuality" and "heterosexuality" should be moved to social issues. Accordingly, I placed them there. Similarly, to have an article on "Penis" and "Vagina" in todays world climate is silly. "Genitals" yes, penis and vagina are not even the same homology of male and female genitals. No biologist would make a list like this. Nancy Sculerati MD 06:03, 7 November 2006 (CST)

I am not trying to sensationalise the list. At this early stage i am just adding things off the top of my head. There is time to iron out the issues and refine the list. Remember our target audience are not scientists. I agree with your edits to move them some of these issues to another more socially oriented section. But deleting pregnancy? Chris day 07:01, 7 November 2006 (CST)
I added pregnancy back along with two other things that I think you deleted by mistake. Feel free to move it to a more appropriate section. By the way I am a biologist, but remember, there is often more than one perspective. Chris day 07:12, 7 November 2006 (CST)
Isn't "sex" a result of biology and "gender" a construct of society? That's how we use the terms in anthropology and religion. Do biologists use them differently? Joshua Villines 17:57, 7 November 2006 (CST)
Gender was not originally in the list, it was male and female. From a biological perspective this is very relevant since different organisms have different ways of determining sex at the genetic level. Homosexuality was the other term i had added and I agree this is on the edge of biology. But there are people working on the genetics of homosexuality so it would be wrong to say it is not within the sphere of biology AND it is very topical, so you can bet future readers will be wanting to see the subject covered here. Chris day 19:31, 7 November 2006 (CST)
Makes sense to me Chris. I would put "sex" under biology and "gender" under sociology, with homosexuality as a biological concept and homosexuality as a sexual identity cross-linked but categorized in their respective genres. Joshua Villines 16:31, 8 November 2006 (CST)
Perhaps we will better know where to put them after we have at least tried to write them.DavidGoodman 22:58, 10 November 2006 (CST)

Call to arms?

Would anyone care if I removed the "call to arms" section at the start of this list? It isn't totally clear what this call to arms is about. In addition, the articles listed under the call to arms are also listed elsewhere in the list.--Jason Sanford 21:09, 12 November 2006 (CST)

Yes, clearly it's OK to move that stuff, particularly since the person who is calling us to arms (Jon Awbrey) about his pet topics isn't involved in the pilot project. --Larry Sanger 22:27, 12 November 2006 (CST)

necessary trivia

Apparently the software used in the wiki is case-sensitive, at least in article titles. Thus the need to follow the otherwise non-standard and restrictive convention for first letter of the first word caps & of all other words lower case. (Except proper names: qy : is the Space Shuttle a proper name?DavidGoodman 19:39, 15 November 2006 (CST)

David--well, the first letter is capitalized in the display of the article title. However, you can link to it without capitalizing the first first letter. So, for example, I can write: health science. That's the rule on WP and it should be no different here on CZ. You could do a great public service, by the way, by locating, copying over, and reworking the WP rules on such matters. I mean, only if you want to.  :-) I don't know re Space Shuttle, actually. --Larry Sanger 23:24, 15 November 2006 (CST)

Subjective list, at present

I just noticed the edit from Dana Lutenegger lamenting the absense of Chinese history. I think it is important that we realise this list is very much a work in progess. As far as I can tell a few people have listed topics that they feel are important. Even then, this was not done in a systematic way, for example, I bulked up the science section but I don't think I did a particularly thorough job.

One thing is clear, this list is getting very long and still has a lot of holes. Currently we have about 70 topics with over 1200 specific articles. It might be time to start identify the big holes and pruning a few of the lesser one, if our real goal is to have a working number of about 700. Any comments? Chris Day (Talk) 11:45, 16 November 2006 (CST)

Are we even restricting ourselves to around 700 articles in this list? This is a number I saw bandied around earlier but I'm not sure where I read that now. Also it might make sense to impose the subject hierarchy for editors onto this list of articles here. Does anyone have the latest editor topic list as proposed on the listsvr. Chris Day (Talk) 11:49, 16 November 2006 (CST)
The early version of the list came from Wikipedia, where it was a few hundred articles that they wanted to make all featured articles. The goal was to add and subtract from that list, and so 700 was the number we shot for (being a bit higher than the WP number). We added a lot, but subtracting was a lot harder. --ZachPruckowski 13:17, 16 November 2006 (CST)

I'd agree re using the discipline workgroup list here. In fact, we should break this page according to those disciplines. A page name template might be: CZ:Important X articles, e.g., CZ:Important Philosophy articles. --Larry Sanger 12:00, 16 November 2006 (CST)

700 isn't some magical number and there's no reason to prune to reach that number. What we need to do is as Larry says, bring in the workgroup lists and break this page into different disciplines (with this page remaining as the central link or hub for all those other discipline pages.--Jason Sanford 12:24, 16 November 2006 (CST)
Thanks for the clarification and this certainly seems a better approach. Chris Day (Talk) 12:54, 16 November 2006 (CST)


All articles of geography in the list were tagged with the category "Geography Workgroup (Top)" --Versuri 05:00, 22 November 2006 (CST)

  • There were names of some authors, then I put the list in the talk page--Versuri 12:55, 22 November 2006 (CST)
  • The same I did for philosophy --Versuri 13:15, 22 November 2006 (CST)